Kids And Their (Digital) Toys

I recently read an article titled 38 percent of kids under 2 use smartphones or tablets. I couldn’t pass this headline up as I have two children, 10 and under, and only 1 tablet to go around.

It’s OK though. The kids keep me in the loop about what apps have updated and let me know when they’ve found new Wi-Fi network names when we’re out and about, so it’s a “win-win” for everybody.

The article referenced key findings from  a 2013 Common Sense Media Research Study and,whether you have children or not, the usage figures are interesting.

  • The percent of children with access to some type of “smart” mobile device at home (e.g., smartphone, tablet) has jumped from half (52%) to three-quarters (75%) of all children in just two years.
Hanalei: a real Digital Native on the iPad
(Photo credit: Wayan Vota)
  • Today, 38% of children under 2 have used a mobile device for media (compared to 10% two years ago) and the percent of children who use mobile devices on a daily basis – at least once a day or more – has more than doubled, from 8% to 17% .

So how is this mobile device usage affecting TV watching?

  • Time spent with “traditional” screen media such as television, DVDs, video games, and computers is down substantially, by more than half an hour a day.
  • Television still dominates children’s media time, but new ways of watching now make up a large portion of viewing.
  • Television continues to be the most widely used platform for children’s educational content (Good news for PBS, Nick and Cartoon Network).

As you can imagine, economics affects mobile device ownership.

  • Access to mobile media devices and applications among poor and minority children is much higher than it was two years ago, but a large gap between rich and poor still persists.

Fortunately, the same study finds that reading is still popular with children.

iPad magic
(Photo credit: robynejay)
  • To date, the spread of mobile media devices like smartphones, e-readers, and tablets does not appear to have had a net effect on the amount or frequency of reading among young children.

I highly recommend you reading the study for yourself and if you have trouble accessing it using a mobile device, just ask the nearest kid to stop playing Minecraft long enough to pull up the article for you.

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